Tegan Rawlinson

BSc (Hons) Chemistry, Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, University of York.

Tegan Rawlinson

I have dyslexia and multiple medical conditions, including asthma and a condition called Allergic Broncho-Pulmonary Aspergillosis, all of which affect me daily.

Studying chemistry at university, away from home, is a scary thought in general. Trying to tackle my degree, social life and my disability was totally terrifying. However I needn't have worried. All the support I needed was here.

I knew that chemistry was going to be very demanding in terms of contact hours but I knew my passion for the subject was not going to be stopped by my disabilities. The first thing I did was apply for Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) which enabled me to have a reader and writer in exams, any extra books I needed and gave me specialist equipment which helps me do my work.

When I decided York was my first choice, Disability Services and the Chemistry department's disability officer contacted me. Disability Services were really helpful with sorting out the forms I needed to fill in. The Chemistry disability officer has helped in many ways; printing my hand-outs on green paper, releasing them early and telling staff about my extra needs. I feel comfortable explaining problems, knowing they will try their best to sort it out.

The department has been amazingly supportive and I've been given the help I need. For example; no one marks my spellings in my work, in exams I have a reader and writer and the demonstrators in labs are aware that I might need more help.

Another main help is my supervisor, who I know well and is always ready to help me. All of this support is amazing but it does require effort. It won't just come to you; you have to be honest and ask for it when you need it.

I can't drink due to my medication. This worried me as I wondered how others were going to accept this. I really shouldn't have worried about this because I found that everyone just accepted it. You don't need alcohol to have a good time.

As I take longer to do all my work and get tired more, I knew joining multiple societies and attending regularly wasn't going to work. I tried out a few at the beginning and chose Cassoc (Catholic Student Society). Here I made lifelong friends and I'm the press and publicity rep.

It's not all plain sailing. I found it hard constantly explaining why I use green paper, wear green glasses and take medication during lectures. However, since finding my close friends it doesn't matter they just accept it